How to Legally Translate a Birth Certificate

By Atlas LS

Translating a birth certificate is crucial, especially when dealing with immigration processes, legal matters, or academic applications. Ensuring that the translation is accurate and legally valid is essential. Here’s a guide on how to legally translate a birth certificate.

Understanding the Need for Translation

Why Translate a Birth Certificate? how to legally translate a birth certificate

Birth certificates are essential documents for proving identity, nationality, and age. They are required in various situations, such as applying for a visa, getting married abroad, or enrolling in schools. When dealing with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or other legal entities, the birth certificate must often be translated into English.

Who Needs to Translate Their Birth Certificate?

  • Immigrants: To meet USCIS requirements.
  • Students: For admissions in foreign educational institutions.
  • Professionals: For employment verification.
  • Couples: For marriage applications in foreign countries.

Steps to Translate a Birth Certificate Legally

1 – Find a Certified Translation Service

Ensure you select a professional translation service that offers certified translations, like Atlas Language Services, Inc. Certified translations include a signed statement from the translator or translation company affirming the accuracy and completeness of the translation.

  • Certified Translation Service: Look for services that guarantee USCIS acceptance.
  • Professional Translation: The translator should be proficient in original and target languages.

2 – Submit the Original Document

Provide the original birth certificate or a certified copy to the translation provider. The translator must have a clear and legible document from which to work.

  • Original Document: Ensure the document is not altered or damaged.
  • Digital Copy: Some services accept scanned copies if they meet quality standards.

3 – Translation Process

The translator will convert the text into the target language, maintaining the original format as closely as possible. This step includes translating all document parts, including stamps, signatures, and official seals.

  • Accurate Translation: Every detail must be precisely translated.
  • Format Preservation: The layout should mirror the original document.

4 – Certification and Notarization

Once translated, the document must be certified. Some cases may also require notarization, where a notary public verifies the translator’s identity and their statement.

  • Certificate of Accuracy: A statement affirming the translation’s accuracy.
  • Notarized Translation: An added layer of validation, depending on requirements.

Difference Between Certified and Notarized Translations

  • Certified Translation: This includes a signed statement from the translator or translation company affirming that the translation is accurate and complete. It is typically required by USCIS and other legal entities.
  • Notarized TranslationIn addition to being certified, the translator’s statement is notarized by a notary public. This involves the notary verifying the identity of the translator and witnessing the signing of the certification statement. Notarization provides an extra layer of authenticity and is often required for legal documents.

5 – Submission to Authorities

Submit the certified and, if necessary, notarized translation to the relevant authorities. Ensure you keep copies of all documents for your records.

  • USCIS: Ensure the translation meets their specific guidelines.
  • Other Entities: Check specific requirements for other institutions or countries.

Related: Financial Document Translation

If Your Birth Certificate Is Lost

  1. Obtain a Replacement: Contact the vital records office or the appropriate government body in the place of birth to obtain a replacement. This process may take some time, so plan accordingly.
  2. Use Alternative Documents: In some cases, other official documents (like a birth record) may temporarily suffice while you wait for the new birth certificate. Check with the translation service and the requesting authority.

How It Affects the Translation Process

  • Delays: Damaged or lost documents can cause delays in the translation process, as obtaining new copies takes time.
  • Legibility Issues: Translators require clear, legible documents to ensure accurate translation. Any missing or unreadable parts can lead to errors or omissions.
  • Certification Concerns: Only complete and official documents can be certified. Damaged or partial documents may not meet the criteria for certification required by authorities like USCIS.

By securing a clear and complete birth certificate, you can avoid these potential issues and ensure a smooth translation process.

Tips for a Smooth Translation Process

Choose Reputable Translation Providers

Select providers with a proven track record of delivering accurate and certified translations. Atlas Language Services, Inc. is an example of a reputable company known for its reliable services.

Verify Requirements

Different institutions have different requirements. Always check the specific needs of the entity to which you are submitting the translated document.

Double-Check for Completeness

Before submission, review the translated document to ensure it includes all necessary parts and is free from errors.

Consider Timing

Plan ahead to allow sufficient time for the translation process. Urgent translations might incur additional fees, and rushing can lead to mistakes.

Other Institutions Requiring Translated Birth Certificates

While USCIS requirements are often the focus, various other institutions may also need translated birth certificates. Here’s how to ensure your translation meets different needs:

Educational Institutions

  • Schools and Universities: When enrolling in foreign educational institutions, you may need to provide a translated birth certificate to verify your identity and age.
  • Scholarship Applications: Some scholarship programs require proof of birth and nationality, necessitating a translated birth certificate.


  • Translations must be accurate and complete.
  • Certification may be required to ensure authenticity.

Embassies and Consulates

  • Visa Applications: For visa applications, embassies often require translated birth certificates as part of the documentation.
  • LegalizationIn some cases, the translation must be legalized or apostilled, providing additional validation recognized internationally.


  • Certified translations are typically required.
  • Legalization or apostille might be necessary depending on the country.

Government Agencies

  • Marriage ApplicationsWhen applying for marriage in a foreign country, a translated birth certificate may be required to confirm identity and eligibility.
  • Citizenship Applications: Proof of birth is crucial for citizenship applications in many countries, necessitating a translated and certified birth certificate.


  • Certified translations to meet government standards.
  • Possible notarization for added authenticity.


  • Employment Verification: Some employers, especially international companies, may require a translated birth certificate as part of their background check process.


  • Accuracy is crucial for employment records.
  • Certification to verify translation authenticity.

Health Institutions

  • Medical RecordsFor medical treatments or health insurance applications abroad, translated birth certificates might be required to establish identity.


  • Certified translations ensure the document’s integrity and acceptance.

Ensuring Compliance with Various Requirements

To meet the diverse needs of these institutions:

  1. Check Specific Requirements: Each institution may have unique requirements for translations. Always verify what is needed beforehand.
  2. Choose a Reputable Service: Select a professional translation service that understands and can meet the requirements of different institutions.
  3. Keep Copies: Maintain copies of both the original and translated documents for your records.

By understanding the varied requirements of different institutions, you can ensure that your translated birth certificate is accepted and meets all necessary standards.


Translating a birth certificate legally is a meticulous process that involves accuracy, certification, and sometimes notarization. Following the steps outlined and choosing a trusted translation service like Atlas Language Services, Inc., you can ensure that your birth certificate is translated correctly and accepted by relevant authorities. If you need your birth certificate translated urgently, don’t hesitate to contact Atlas Language Services, Inc. for professional and certified translation services.


Can I translate my own birth certificate for USCIS? No, USCIS requires that the translation be done by a certified translator who is not the petitioner or beneficiary.

How long does it take to translate a birth certificate? The time varies but typically ranges from a few days to a week. Urgent services are available but may cost extra.

What if my birth certificate is in a language with a different script? Professional translation services handle documents in various languages and scripts, ensuring accurate translation into English.

Is notarization always required for a translated birth certificate? Notarization is not always required but is recommended for added validation. Always check the specific requirements of the requesting entity.